Championship teams are forged from a collection of veterans and new arrival prospects from the minor leagues. Few people would argue that the minor league does not play a critical role in helping a team achieve championship-level potential. The Washington Nationals have had their share of minor league players who stepped up when called up from the minor leagues.
At each of these levels, there may be a young Washington Nationals prospect that could eventually get called up to the majors at some point in time. Case in point, at the lower A-level, the Fredericksburg Nationals catcher Onix Vega was drafted back in 2018. Vega has hit 18 RBIs for the Fredericksburg Nationals this season.
His first-ever career minor league RBI came against the Salem Red Sox on June 30th. Vegas’ overall minor league career stats show he is batting .255 and has one home run combining for a total of 43 RBIs and five stolen bases. For the month of July, Vega took a total of 77 at-bats for the Fredericksburg Nationals. The way Vega has been playing for the Fredericksburg Nationals this season shows he’s developing the skills to be a successful catcher in the coming years.
When the Nationals drafted Stephen Strasburg, fans were ecstatic about the future of the Washington Nationals. Then in 2014, they drafted Eric Fedde, who is pitching right now in the starting rotation for the Nationals. Those two particular pitchers were drafted into the Nationals minor league system but are playing for the Nationals right now. But as you go down that list and look at everybody who is a starter at the pitching position for the Nationals, they have been acquired from free agency or in some type of trade. In the upcoming seasons of 2022 and 2023, and the 2021 off-season, and the hypothetical scenarios, the Nationals were going to have to face the reality that it was time to look at their farm systems and start relying on the pitchers they drafted.
Washington Nationals fans can expect some great things within maybe the next two or three seasons. As of right now, High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks pitcher Todd Peterson was drafted by the Nationals back in 2019, and his ERA is not the greatest this season. With High-A Wilmington, he has a 5.51 ERA. However, if you look at Peterson’s overall minor league career, he has a more promising ERA of 4.09. While I don’t see Todd Peterson as a starting pitcher with the Washington Nationals any time soon, I do see him as a bullpen prospect when he is fully developed and ready for the majors. I do believe he will pay off, and unlike past bullpen meltdowns, he won’t let the Washington Nationals organization down. I think this because he was drafted out of LSU, the same place Andrew Stephenson and Andrew have shown that LSU instills a winning baseball culture in their student-athletes.
The third base positional player selection for the Washington Nationals has a lot of recent super-star history. When you think about who has played there, Ryan Zimmermann, and Anthony Rendon, you think about the most elite in MLB. In terms of future prospects, the Double-AA Harrisburg Senators currently have a third baseman by the name of Jake Alu that looks promising. This season Jake has taken 246 at-bats, hit 76 times, has 38 RBIs, and 12 home runs for an average of .309, with an on-base percentage of .360. Looking at that number for OBP, that’s a good starting point, and that is why he is a AA star.
If he can maintain that, I believe he may possibly be put on the triple-AAA Rochester roster by the end of this season. From there, perhaps by next season, he may get invited to spring training to see if he is ready to be called up to the Nationals possibly next year. However, some areas do not need to be improved upon, such as home runs and stolen bases, if he is to fill the shoes of past National third base super-stars. Ryan Zimmerman was known as “Mr. walk off” with all his clutch home runs, and Anthony Rendon was known as “Tony two bags” because of all the doubles he hit.
At some point in the next couple of seasons, Jake Alu could make a great addition to third base.
Out of the three prospects I chose to focus on, these prospects fill gaps that the Nationals are eventually going to deal with in the next couple of seasons and have now been made clear in this article about the future.